Broncos confident Von Miller still can play at a “Pro Bowl-type” level

Denver Broncos Training Camp
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The Broncos had a decision to make after Von Miller turned down a restructured contract that included a pay cut. The team opted to exercise the $7 million guarantee on Miller’s $18 million salary for 2021, keeping the edge rusher on the roster.

“Von’s been a priority,” Broncos General Manager George Paton said Thursday. “We wanted Von here since I’ve been here, and we were going to try to do that any way we could. I had good conversations with . . . his agent, and I’ve spoken with Von. We ended up just exercising his option.”

Paton was asked if the edge rusher market impacted the Broncos’ decision not to move on from Miller.

“No,” Paton quickly answered. “We wanted Von Miller. We wanted Von to be a Bronco.”

The Broncos are counting on Miller to return to being Von Miller, something that hasn’t happened since the 2018 season. If there is such a thing as a prove-it season for a player with a Super Bowl MVP award and 106 career sacks, Miller faces that this season in the final year of his contract.

Miller missed all of last season with a dislocated left ankle tendon during practice the week leading up to the season opener. That came after a disappointing 2019 season in which he made only eight sacks with Bradley Chubb injured much of the season.

And Miller turns 32 next week.

With Miller counting $22.1 million against the cap, the Broncos need and expect their star player to return to form.

“You know what he’s brought since he’s been here. He can rush the passer,” Paton said. “The tape I watched, he still had the juice before he got injured. Passer rushers are a premium, and he’s special. He’s a special pass rusher. You look at some of the great pass rushers of all time, and they’re rushing the passer well into their 30s. Von’s been working, and I think he’s going to have a Pro Bowl-type season.”